The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust


Microscopy and Culture of other specimens

Microscopy and Culture of other specimens

Specimens other than skin, hair and nails that may require fungal culture include oral and vaginal swabs; urine; peritoneal dialysis fluid; CSF; respiratory samples (e.g. sputum, broncho-alveolar lavage fluid), tissues.  Sterile white topped universals should be used to send these samples, or smaller sterile tubes if the volume is small to avoid evaporation during transit. However if referring from other laboratories we advise processing the primary sample and then sending resultant fungal cultures for identification or further testing.

Swabs from mucous membranes : These should be in plain transport medium, as yeasts die rapidly in dry swabs and use of charcoal swabs interferes with microscopic examination.

Oral rinses are the best specimen for oral candidosis. Ask the patient to rinse 10ml sterile saline in their mouth for about 30sec then spit back into a sterile universal tube and send

 White top universal container





Diagnosis of fungal infection by microscopy and culture.

For most sample types (with the exception of skin, nail and hair), we would advise referring laboratories to process the primary sample and then send resultant fungal cultures for identification or further testing


Microscopy for yeasts, mycelium and other fungal elements; culture of any viable fungi present and identification of any clinically significant species. Antifungal susceptibility testing is undertaken where appropriate or requested.


Microscopy is reported as "No fungus seen" or positive with a description of the fungal cells seen.
Culture is reported as the identity of any significant fungi isolated, estimation of amount of fungal growth (+,++,+++) where relevant.